Last month, on May 14, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched a public inquiry about student loan servicer practices. The CFPB specifically asked for borrowers to comment on Industry practices that make repayment a challenge, hurdles for borrowers who have fallen behind, and economic incentives that result in poor service. This comment period represents a great opportunity for borrowers to take a stand against the poor treatment they are receiving.
Sadly, this comment period closes July 13. With the comment period nearing its close, and only a few precious weeks remaining, the results have been very disappointing. As of this date only 79 people have commented. That number is not a misprint. There are 40 million student loan borrowers and to date only 79 have taken a few minutes out of their time to make their voices heard.
Perhaps the most depressing part about this turnout is the fact that leaving a comment with the CFPB is easy and it can make a huge difference. Student loan borrowers as a group are well on their way to a squandered opportunity.
Leaving a comment is easy
The CFPB is accepting comments via email, regular mail, and hand delivery. If these options are too tedious or time consuming, borrowers also have the option of submitting their comments via the regulations.gov website. Note: if you do take the time to comment, be sure to maintain your privacy. Do not include social security numbers or account numbers.
What should you say?
Venting about the terrible service you receive on your student loans can be very therapeutic. Venting to the CFPB can result in changes that could actually make your life as a student loan borrower better.
Here are a few things to consider discussing:
- Examples of times you were given inconsistent information from different people with the same company
- Inaccurate information you were given that lead to late fees or penalties
- Information about how you tried to work out a reasonable repayment plan with your lender only to be ignored or rejected
- Any other example of poor customer service or unreasonable treatment
Will submitting a comment actually help?
Of all the different ways to voice your opinion on student loans, this one may represent one of the best chances to make a difference. Senators and Congressman can ignore calls. Petitions, even when signed in large numbers, can go nowhere. A clever newspaper article may turn a few heads, but its ultimate impact may not amount to much.
The CFPB, in its short existence, has a great track record of advocacy for student loan borrowers. The CFPB has initiated multiple lawsuits against for profit colleges that mislead students. These efforts have led to millions of dollars back in borrower hands. Outside the courtroom, the CFPB has been instrumental in shedding light on shady lender practices, such as automatic defaults when co-signers die. These efforts could not have happened if borrowers did not get involved and speak up about their terrible treatment.
The time to act is now
If the CFPB is going to continue to advocate for borrowers, they need to be reminded that the student loan crisis is real and that the consequences have been devastating to many americans. Sharing your thoughts only takes a few minutes, and the impact could be huge. Click here to let the CFPB know what you think of your student loan servicer. Tell your friends to do the same.